Monthly Archives

October 2011

Dale Carnegie and 6 Ways to Make People Like and Share Your Content

By | Content Marketing, Social Media | No Comments

Photo: Dale Carnegie - Confluence Digital blog

If you’re wondering how long has the best selling American author Dale Carnegie been offering tips on content marketing, the answer is never – or at least never directly.  However, he did have great tips on how to make people like you.  

As a lifelong Dale Carnegie fan and follower of his advice, I learned that in most social situations when people like you they will talk to you and they will talk about you just like when they don’t like you. But what about the neutrals, you wonder? 

Well, this is exactly where the majority of marketers who have trouble producing engaging content are stuck, with most of their content perceived as digital background noise.

In Dale Carnegie’s bestselling book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” he teaches 6 ways to make people like you, which I insipired me to apply it to creating the following 6 ways to make readers like and share your content.

#1 Become genuinely interested in other people

Yes stalking and analyzing their website and social media profiles is a good way to learn about your audience.  However on a more personal level,  if you’re truly “genuinely interested” in someone, you will probably try to meet them in person at some point and engage with their content online.  

You would follow them on social media, comment on their blog, sent them a message of appreciation, and keep in touch with them in a place where you can closely monitor their activity to interact with them whenever something they pushed online calls your attention. 

That’s why this is not a task you can just check, but an art that must be embraced until you become someone who is truly passionate about learning about other people.  

Now, how does this apply to you when creating content? Simple, the best way to be interesting is by being interested in others, and your content should reflect that when you create it by adding other people’s thoughts to your content, preferably of those people you have engaged with in the past and continue engaging whenever you can.   

#2 Smile

What happens most of the time when you smile at someone?  Most likely they will smile back at you, or at least most of the times.  One way to accomplish this through your content where body language is most of the time absent unless you’re using visual media is by using humor. 

Humor like other forms of “digital body language” is a great way to make your articles fun to read and where even the right image will make them more approachable to click on.  However please don’t overuse it.

Relevant Link:  5 Tips for Using Humor in Your Social Media Activities by Jason Miller, social media marketing manager at Zoomerang. 

#3 Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language

This tip is pretty straight forward.  Whenever you can, remember to include people’s name when you message, reply, or quote them in your content.  Most people welcome recognition. 

#4 Be a good listener – encourage others to talk about themselves

Take the time to learn about what your audience is talking about, and using that as a reference point enhance the conversation with great questions.  

Questions have specially proven to be a great way to get others engaged. Why? Because they call for an answer, and the right (interesting) question can attract many of them.  

Think of this as you finish creating your content, but please unless you have a great question don’t just ask for asking purposes but because you truly want to know what your audience has to say.  That attitude will help you craft a great question! 

Relevant Links: (1) Learning Center, LinkedIn Answers (2) 8 Easy Twitter Monitoring Ideas by Cindy King, manager editor of Social Media Examiner.

#5 Talk in terms of the other person’s interest

Well, this one is an easy one, the reason I created this article is because I learned through LinkedIn that someone’s biggest content marketing challenge was getting their content shared.  Without trying to sell anything but simply providing someone ideas to change their attitude toward getting their posts shared, the purpose here is to start a new relationship online based on what they are interested in.  I think we often forget, including myself on this one, that the best way to get your content shared is by being passionate about it and with the communities who could be interested in it.  

#6 Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely

In addition to making sure that you remember to use people’s names whenever you can as mentioned in tip #3, following all the tips mentioned above will help you start making people feel important.  Why? Because your actions will indicate that you are interested enough in what they have to say to engage with them. For example, you have a smile in your content either through humor or great media, you are always being helpful providing your audience something of value to them, and because you do it sincerely. 

Relevant Link: 9 Reasons Why Your Content Is Not Shared on Social Networks: New Research by Phil Mershon, director of events for Social Media Examiner.


Now to follow up on my own tip #4, I really want to know what are some steps you’re going to take to make your content shared after reading this? 

Contact us if you you are looking for advice on the effectiveness of your social media strategy. We’re also happy to answer your questions about digital tactics such as SEO, paid search, web analytics, conversion rate optimization and more.

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What Can We Learn from Klout Stars?

By | Analytics, SEO, Social Media | No Comments

Image: Jay Baer Klout Score - Confluence Digital blogThere is nothing better than learning how to rock in social media from the “Doers” instead of the “Talkers”, which is why I am big a fan of the Klout Stars series.

The blog series highlights top influencers in social media and how they got to where they are today.

That said, in my experience, even though the platform aims to measure user’s influences across all their social networks, for now it is really only a reference point for how influential they are on Twitter.

Now back to the Doers and what can we learn from them, I decided to do an analysis on the last 10 featured Klout Stars.  Here is my analysis and 3 takeaways:

Chart: Klout Stars analysis - Confluence Digital blog

 (Click on picture to enlarge)

#1 Know Your Audience then Choose Your Style

The majority of the last 10 featured Klout Stars are either “curators” or “thought leaders” who have been on Twitter for almost 2 years or more.  These two types of influencers know exactly who their audience is but differ in the way they make them fall in love with them.

The curators do a great job of filtering massive amounts of information to deliver the most interesting selections to their audience, which is why they are much appreciated.  The thought leaders on the other hand not only share relevant news but give their opinion, which is highly valued as they help their audience understand the information better.

Both styles of influencing require a deep connection with the audience which can be achieved by building persona profiles and by actually meeting some of your followers offline.  Klout Star Dan Shawbel recommends to narrow your focus and to be consistent.

#2 Interact with People and Tweet Often

The average number of tweets per day of all the Klout Starts’s accounts I examined is around 31, which follows Klout Star Jay Baer’s advice that if you want to make social media work for you, you really have to put in the time.

Also more than one Klout Star emphasized the importance on interacting with your followers to keep them engaged and active.

#3 Listen to Be Listened but Don’t Over Do it

Most of the Klout Stars have a follower-to-friend ratio or around 1 or above, which means they are listening and being listened at a healthy rate.

Some users follow accounts regularly to get followed back to build their network on Twitter.  This is fine and it works because I tried it, but if at any point you stop getting followed back where your follower-to-friend ratio starts getting far below 1, then it’s time for you to check back on your social media strategy and re-analyze your audience and the content you are sharing.

Also please keep in mind that the downside of this technique is that your Twitter profile feed will become useless in the long run and you will need to create lists to keep in touch with your close or most interesting followers.

Useful Link: What is your Follower-Friend Ratio?

Are you a “Doer” and rocking your social media? Share with us what’s working for you in the comments below.


Contact us if you you are looking for advice on the effectiveness of your digital strategy. We’re happy to answer questions about SEO, paid search, web analytics, social media or any other digital channel.

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Final 5 Tips for Improving Q4 Performance for Online Retailers

By | PPC | No Comments

Photo: eCommerce shopper - Confluence Digital blogSo you’re back for more. Excellent! We hope the previous 10 tips for getting better pay per click (PPC) results during the holiday eCommerce rush have sparked ideas for you to try. We wrap up our three part series with five more ideas we hope will get you to ask questions of your current program. For our final 5 we tackle more advanced PPC tactics like remarketing as well as strategic activities such as planning your media and post-holiday focus.  We hope you find them valuable.

1. Remarketing: Stalking Browsers Until They Buy

Remarketing or retargeting is one of the more controversial tactics in digital marketing. If you’re unfamiliar with the practice it works like this; visitors who browse but don’t buy get cookied. When these visitors are surfing the web and visit sites that allow remarketing ads, they’ll see ads for sites they’ve visited in the past on which they got cookied. Often these ads are easy to spot as they can be out of context for the site on which they’ve being served. They can also reel back in and convert past browsers to buyers.

Remarketing needs some thought before executing. First you need to develop a large enough database of visitors cookied for retargeting to have a measurable impact. Next you need to develop an approach to audience segmentation. Note: When using Google Remarketing, there is a minimum number of cookied users required (approximately 500). The power of remarketing comes in the ability to segment the audiences based on their on-site behaviors. An approach for eCommerce sites would be segments for visitors to product pages and those who added items to their shopping cart but did not buy. Target this audience with compelling creative with strong calls to action.

Useful link: Remarketing Ideas from Google

2.  Live By Promotions, Die By Promotions

The gravitational pull of promotions is just too tempting to resist. Whether it’s a holiday tie-in or an inventory clearance, there’s always the temptation to use discounts to stimulate sales. BEWARE: you may be training your customers to expect a discount and they won’t buy unless offered one. I’m not suggesting that e-tailers shouldn’t use discounts, but avoid becoming addicted to them and use them strategically. On the flip side, I know of one large e-tailer who did not have a discount lined up during a pivotal week in the holiday season. With shoppers’ minds full of purchase intent a major opportunity was lost, not to mention a significant amount of revenue. Know your customers and what they react to.

Use promotions to increase average order size, attract first time customers and/or take business from competitors. Think about how you want to use PPC ads to bring attention to your promotions. If the promotions are compelling you’ll see increased click through rates, but if the onsite experience is poor there may be no increases at all. It’s critically important to look at the entire customer experience when using promotions.

Useful link: 3 Brands Using Promotions Effectively

3.  Know Your Key Dates: Green Monday?

Black Friday (11/25) and Cyber Monday (11/28) are terms any online retail marketer is aware of, but how about Green Monday (12/12)? There are several key dates for online retailers during Q4 and your PPC campaigns should be dialed in before these dates arrive. That means you’ve got holiday themed creative queued up ready to go. You’ve done landing page testing and addressed any leaky funnel issues. Perhaps most important, sufficient budget is allocated to capture the opportunity presented. What you might not realize is that sales will happen on these dates, but you can help prime the revenue pump by ramping up your media spend 3-5 days in advance. Doing so helps build top of mind awareness so when browsers turn to buyers; your brand is in their consideration set.

Two other days you need to consider are the last date your audience can receive order and review items by Christmas Eve with standard and expedited. Last but not least of the big days is December 26. That’s Boxing Day, the biggest shopping day in Canada. While the economy is
down globally, Canada has weathered the storm better than most and represents an $18.5B eCommerce market growing at double-digits according to an eMarketer study. Bottom line, your PPC program can do wonders but needs sufficient planning and resources to maximize the opportunity.

Useful link: Resources for Ecommerce Marketers

4.  Don’t Forget Post-Holiday Bargain Shoppers

In addition to Boxing Day creative teed up, also have your post-holiday promotions ready to go supported by PPC ad copy. The post-holiday period can be an opportune time to target new customers. Effectively executing a post-holiday sales push can get your new fiscal year off to a strong start. Many will have received cash or gift cards as gifts.  The extra buying power may be just what they needed to get that impulse item. Do you have excess stock of items than encourage the purchase of accessories? Review your website analytics and reallocate your PPC budget taking into consideration data for post-holiday product popularity.

Useful link: Holiday Season 2010 Post-mortem by ComScore

5.  Develop an Attribution Model: It Won’t Be Perfect

The Holy Grail of online retailing is development of an accurate and reliable attribution model. It’s not difficult to determine the touch points but it can be quite challenging to accurately assess the contribution value of each. Keep in mind attribution models get complex very quickly. If you’re a multi-channel retailer with online, store, catalog, call center, there are cross channel influences to be aware of. Then there’s the various media that may be used such as paid search, display, email, organic traffic efforts and traditional which all have an influence. Google has attempted to offer support with their search funnels for PPC campaign attribution. Unless you have a large scale program, the usefulness of the insights is limited. If you’ve not developed an attribution model before, use this year to set a baseline. Start simple adding complexity over time.

Useful links: Adopting Attribution Models in Large Enterprises and Digital Media Campaign Attribution

Make sure to also check out Parts 1 and 2 in Eric Layland’s three-part Q4 Online Retail Performance Tips series:

Part 1: 5 Must-Do Tips for Awesome PPC Results in Q4

Part 2: 5 More Tips for Improving Q4 Performance for Online Retailers

Give us a call if your paid search program is not meeting its potential, you need help optimizing your website for search (SEO) or are interested in social media marketing, conversion funnel optimization, landing page design or any other aspect of digital strategy.

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5 More Tips for Improving Q4 Performance for Online Retailers

By | PPC | No Comments

Chart: How eTailers divvy up the marketing budget - Confluence Digital blog

Click image above to enlarge and view in separate window.

Welcome back! Last week we posted the first 5 ecommerce PPC tips and we continue with 5 more. By sharing these tips in small batches, we hope you can pick a few and implement them. Be sure to note performance before implementing changes so you can determine their impact.

For this batch of tips we again start with a fundamental: use the right metrics! Though all online marketers have challenges, ecommerce seems to have numerous pressures from all directions.  

1.       Use the Right Metrics: CPA vs. ROAS vs. ROI vs. AOS

Years ago I had an interesting client who was truly intimidating. He was a big guy, tough looking with a weathered face who mentioned in a suggestive way that he grew up in New Jersey and worked the waterfront. I couldn’t shake the image of him sending a double-crosser to talk to the fishes. As we discussed launching his campaign he leaned over, looked me dead in the eye and said, “Eric, always remember, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” I’ve since realized that’s an old business axiom and not an original, but the impression was made.

As a marketer you need to determine which metric is most appropriate for your business. It’s not uncommon to track several key performance indicators. But which is best? Well that depends and why we suggest you track the big three at a minimum: Cost Per Acquisition, Return On Ad Spend, Average Order Size, Return On Investment and get beyond counting conversions. Here’s a quick refresher on these metrics.

Cost Per Acquisition (CPA): Media Cost / Customer Orders. Ideally you can identify first time customers and calculate the metric for new and returning customers. 

Return On Ad Spend (ROAS): Sales Revenue / Media Cost. Can potentially mask the negative impact of low margin sales but handy to assess the impact of your media spends across channels.

Average Order Size (AOS): Sales Revenues / Customer Orders. This is important to help manage promotions, cross/up sell activities, and merchandising. It’s a balance because you need both order volume and high average revenue per item, but more often than not these work against each other.

Return On Investment (ROI): Net Income / Media Cost. This is the bottom line for most e-retailers. In short you know if you were using the right media to sell the right products.

Useful link: Web Analytics Guru Discusses Metrics

2.       Ad Copy: Sell Your Strengths

105 characters plus a display URL is not a lot of space. This precious space needs to be given proper respect to work well. Don’t try and cram every potential benefit into this space. Do have a good understanding of your value proposition to the audience. If you’re a discounter and can compete on price, include prices. If you’re a luxury item marketer, use language that speaks to the unique & exclusive nature of the products. If promotions are a key part of your strategy, regularly test promotional calls to action.

The holiday season is cut-throat. It’s very easy for a web shopper to browse multiple competitors. They’re going to be hit by dozens of great offers. Know where you play in the field and what you do best. Then test away to find which messaging resonates most with your visitors.

At a minimum have 2 variations of ad copy running within each ad group. If volume supports it, add a third. Look at your competitors. What are they doing? Think of ways to stand out and catch the attention of your audience. Test Google’s new long headline option. Most important: your ad should work to get the click, not sell your product. You need to attract the right audience with ads and then optimize your website to convert the browser to a buyer.

Useful link: Writing better Adwords Ads

3.       Get Hard Data from Soft Conversions

Not all conversions are created equal. An online sale is what e-tailers seek but requesting a catalog, doing a store location look-up, visiting a shipping options page, signing up for a newsletter are high value actions that signal visitor buy interest. We call these “soft”, “micro” or “secondary” conversions to the primary conversion which is a sales transaction.

Track these secondary conversions to the keyword level. Google AdWords allows you to set up several conversion actions. Alternately, you can use a web analytics platform to track these actions. Regardless of the method, do it. You may find that broad terms don’t drive sales conversions but they do drive the types of digital “tire-kicking” that precedes a sale. Over time you should be able to build a model and assign values to the secondary conversions.

Understanding what on-site actions may precipitate a sales conversion can help predict behavior and also enable you to value the contributions of keywords more accurately.

Useful link: Using Google Analytics for Secondary Conversions

4.       Test Google Ad Extensions

The  ad product extensions in Google have been rolling out with greater consistency of late. These features enable ads to communicate more data about the product or service being promoted.  Some ad extensions can only be activated by connecting other Google services. For example, Product Extentions requires an existing Google Merchant Center account.  By setting up a Google Merchant Center account, ads can include product attributes in your AdWords ads via a “plusbox” for users to click. Product extensions can show images, titles and prices of products that match searcher’s queries.

Product extensions will not appear on other Search Network sites, or on Display Network sites. This will be the first holiday season where product extensions are widely available although they are technically still in limited beta release. Our experience showed in increase in CTR on such ads last holiday season. Was there a direct correlation to increased sales? No, and for that reason we suggest you test before full adoption. But Google touts their greatness and we suspect that in time they will become a regular addition to ecommerce PPC programs.

A number of other ad extensions are in limited release. One of note is the Seller Rating Extension. You’ve probably seen these already. If a merchant is rated with at least 4 stars (of 5) and a minimum of 30 reviews, the rating will be posted in the ad. Visitors have the option of clicking through to read reviews at no cost to the merchant.  Don’t forget the other extensions such as Sitelinks, Video (in beta), and location extensions. Test them out and see if they improve the quality of visitors to your site.

Useful link: Google Ad Extensions

5.       Multiple Touch Points: Buyers Are Everywhere

You really can’t predict when your ideal customer is going to take action. As a result, you need to deliver your message when the chances for action and influence are highest.  Though PPC will get a lot of credit for sales, other media channels influence the effectiveness of paid search. As all good media planners know, the cumulative effect of a well-developed media plan is more impactful than the individual components. The same can be said for search. I’m not suggesting go out and throw caution to the wind, but rather test your way to a program that includes search engine optimization, social media channels, display advertising, paid and mobile search. Utilize a tool like Google Analytics, Omniture or Coremetrics to measure the on-site behaviors.

Useful link: Multichannel Digital Marketing

Chart: What types of online advertising marketers are using - Confluence Digital blog

Click image above to enlarge and view in separate window.

Please share your thoughts and opinions with us. For as much data as is created in online marketing, there’s still very much room for discourse on the subject. What’s good for one client might not work well with another and we’ve experienced that. And if you have a question where we might be able to provide assistance, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Don’t forget to check out Parts 1 and 3  (coming soon!) in Eric Layland’s three-part Q4 Online Retail Performance Tips series:

Part 1: 5 Must-Do Tips for Awesome PPC Results in Q4

Give us a call if your paid search program is not meeting its potential, you need help optimizing your website for search (SEO) or are interested in social media marketing, conversion funnel optimization, landing page design or any other aspect of digital strategy.

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5 Tips To Boost Your Holiday e-Commerce Sales with Facebook

By | PPC, SEO, Social Media | No Comments

The holiday season is approaching and triggering consumers to start thinking about purchasing.  If you’re an online retailer the next 3 months is your last chance to push and attract sales to finish the year strong.  

You probably already know that it is fundamental to have SEO and PPC campaigns running to increase awareness of your company, products and services.  However things are changing in the digital space as now U.S. Internet users spent 41.1 billion minutes on Facebook, surpassing Google 39.8 billion minutes for the first time (according to comScore) which is why it is important to get your business where the customers are — on social media.    

Here are 5 tips to help you make sure that you are leveraging Facebook to extend your business visibility and pull in more revenue – assuming, of course, that you have already created a Facebook Page, if not, create one now

#1 Offer exclusive offers on your Facebook Page 

People like great products and great deals, once you have that down, run exclusive offers on your business Facebook Page in exchange for “likes” to grow your audience. 

 #2 Keep your Facebook Page fans engaged 

After users “like” your Facebook page, make sure that you keep them engaged by running exclusive offers once in a while through your Facebook Page posts.  If you fail to keep your audience engaged, your network reach or post’s impressions will decrease because of Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm which determines the edge/popularity of your posted content. In practice this means that if you don’t get your fans to “like” and comment on your posts, your posts will appear less frequently on their personal Facebook Newsfeed. 

Useful Link:  6 Tips to Increase Your Facebook EdgeRank and Exposure 

#3 Add Like buttons to your products on your site  

Quick Stat:  35% of people are more likely to buy liked items.

Make it easy for your users to find out automatically what their friends have recently shown interest in on your site.  Adding a Like button to your products is a great way to add social proof to your offerings and influence the visitor who is making a buying decision.  This tool is specially effective when visitors are logged on Facebook and one or more of their Facebook  friends has already “liked” the product. The friends’ names will be featured in the button next to the product indicating that they “liked” it.  

Quick Stats:  (1) 90 percent of people trust recommendations of friends above any form of advertising.  (2) 35 million Facebook users have shared a product.

Even if a high counter of product “likes” or visitor’s friend’s previous endorsement is not enough to drive the purchase, if the customer “likes” the product, it will at least have a chance to be featured in the visitor’s Facebook profile.  During this phase, the product will be up for further opinion gathering and recommendations by the customer’s personal network which could positively influence the customer when considering the purchase.  In another scenario the customer may also promote your product by posting an update of his new purchase before checking out. 


#4 Consider selling your products through your Facebook Page 

Why? Because it’s practical, and after all the goal here is to make it simpler for your fans to buy from you.  Install a store front applications on your Facebook Page to display your products within Facebook. If a visitor clicks on the buy option, the system will re-direct the transaction to your site’s shopping cart. 

Useful Link: How to Sell Products Via Your Facebook Page 

 #5 Advertise on Facebook

Quick Stats: (1) US social network ad revenues to reach $3.08 billion this year.  (2) 1 in 4 minutes spent on the Internet in the US is spent on Facebook.  

Spending on social media advertising will be up 55% this year, Why? – Because it’s working and that’s where the customers are spending most of their time online.   

Useful Link: The How To Guide for Facebook Advertising 

Give us a call to learn more about ways that we can help your social media marketing efforts or if  you need help optimizing your website for search (SEO) or are interested in paid search (PPC), conversion funnel optimization, landing page design or any other aspect of digital strategy.

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5 Must-Do Tips for Awesome PPC Results in Q4

By | PPC | 3 Comments

Photo: eCommerce shopping cart - Confluence Digital blogFor most retailers it’s about to be crunch time. October marks the start of the fourth quarter – an intense time when many retailers make or break their revenue goal for the year.  For retailers with online operations the competition over shoppers’ share of wallet is particularly fierce, since – even if it sounds like an overused cliche – the competition really is just a click or two away. Odds are that whether you’re a local boutique or a national big box retailer, you’ve got a pay per click (PPC) program that is contributing to the mix. The question is whether your program is working to its full potential?

In this three part series we’ll cover key areas of PPC program optimization for online retailers. We’ll look beyond the basics to tactics that will help overall management and results. For retailers that have both on- and offline sales channels, management of your program in a holistic manner is crucial for success.

Without further ado, let’s get into our first round of tips…

1. Integrate Shopping Cart Values with Conversion Codes, Analytics

If you sell online you must integrate your shopping cart with your PPC conversion tracking and web analytics. Just tracking counts of conversions, or worse yet, not tracking anything is really unacceptable. It’s not hard and as long as your shopping cart allows access to its item value variables, there’s no reason not to do so. If your shopping cart doesn’t allow access, change it out. It’s the difference between having rough idea of how your campaigns are doing and knowing your specific Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) or Return on Investment (ROI). Knowing these enable you to bid on the keywords that drive not just sales but margin dollars.

 More advanced online retailers will take this further and integrate margin contribution. We’ve worked with a top-50 ecommerce site that managed to margin contribution and it was extremely powerful. Key metrics included Ad Spend/Margin Contribution (A/M) and Ad Spend/Sales (A/S). If you’re restricted by shopping cart data access limitations or technical ability, at minimum determine your average order size and apply the value to your conversion counts.

Useful link: Setting up shopping cart conversions.

2. Stop Revenue Leaks: Shore Up Your Conversion Path

We hope reviewing your conversion path and funnel is an activity that’s reviewed regularly. There aren’t many activities that more important to your program to invest resources and insure performance is optimized. Think about it, you’ve already paid for the visit (ppc charges, seo effort, other means) and the visitor has found a product and started the purchase process. Use everything in your testing arsenal to create an efficient check out experience. Even modest improvements can yield significant improvements in sales dollars. Your site analytics can be set-up to report on how visitors migrate through the funnel and what percentage complete each stage. Identifying steps where a disproportionate percentage fall out of the funnel indicates a problem area. Look into it, test fixes then move on to the stage with the next highest abandonment rate. There’s a very good chance you’re using Google Analytics. If that’s the case then setting up goals and funnels will be a great help to you.

Useful link: Setting up Google Analytics goals & funnels.

3. Keyword Organization: Brand vs. Manufacturer vs. Product Type

Separation of keywords into similar Ad Groups is a no brainer. You’ve probably done this already (I hope). Exactly how it’s executed for your specific product type is going to vary. We recommend separation of your brand from all other keyword types at a minimum. If you have physical stores, consider additional ad groups that include keywords with geographic qualifiers.

I prefer separating manufacturer’s terms into manufacturer + product type and manufacturer + model. The reason for this is a shopper’s behavior is different. When a manufacturer + product type keyword is searched a decision has not yet been made. When a specific model is searched on, it’s likely the shopper has decided on the product and is looking for the best price, terms or shipping options.

Useful link: Keyword organization tips.

4. Campaign Budgeting: Don’t Restrict Core Terms

Over the course of running a pay per click program you’ll learn which are your core keywords. Those are the terms that consistently deliver the best results in terms of sales, low acquisition cost and ROI. Insure you support these terms with a sufficient allocation of budget such that you are maximizing their contribution to the overall program.

For instance you may be a specialty retailer of athletic shoes. You’ll know which brands and styles are most popular. Be sure to allow terms which have historically worked best not be artificially restricted by having them fight for campaign budget with under-performers.

Frequently the core keywords will be brand terms or the names of manufacturer’s best known products if you’re a reseller. It’s not unusual for such terms to not only bring in traffic and sales, but to be trigger products. That is, products that tend to drive the sales of accessories and supplies increasing the average basket size value of the order.

Useful link: Organizing campaigns and ad groups.

5. Leveraging AdWord’s Geographic Targeting

At the campaign level specific geographies can be targeted. This can be done at the country, state, metro and all the way to customized longitude & latitude coordinates. The value to geo-targeting is pretty obvious: if you can’t service a region, don’t advertise in it. Looking at it another way, if your stores in Southern California sell merchandise that’s different than what moves in NYC, you’ll want to manage your program taking such factors into account.

Step one: understand how geography impacts retail vs. online sales. How far are people willing to travel to visit the store? Do you offer specials (i.e. free shipping) to areas without retail store support? Geographic store density is also a factor. Do you have stores on every corner or a few regionally located? Set up your ad serving to cover the areas your physical stores serve. Doing so enables tailoring of ad copy to in-store promotions or specials that can’t be delivered online. Brand terms will also perform differently.

In a separate campaign, target the geographies that are not supported by physical stores. Also take note of regional nuances in language. An example of this is; pop or soda? Some folks even use “coke” as a generic for any carbonated sweet beverage in a can. Use this knowledge to speak to your audience with the language they use.

Going international is often exciting for advertisers. There’s a sense of accomplishment to get orders from beyond your typical service area. Beware! Separating International markets from your primary market enables better management of your budget. More than half the world’s population is in the middle of their day before the sun rises in Chicago. That means your budget can be exhausted before your key market wakes up. While bids may be less as a result of fewer competitors, there are many concerns when going international. Some of the major issues include localization, cross barrier shipping, taxes, customer & sales support, serviceability and click fraud. Proceed with caution!

Useful link: AdWords Geo-targeting Options

Check out Part 2 in Eric Layland’s three-part Q4 Online Retail Performance Tips series:

5 More Tips for Improving Q4 Performance for Online Retailers

Give us a call if your paid search program is not meeting its potential, you need help optimizing your website for search (SEO) or are interested in social media marketing, conversion funnel optimization, landing page design or any other aspect of digital strategy.

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